5 things I learned from the sneak peek of BMW’s iX xDrive50
The luxury brand is expanding its all-electric offerings
While BMW has long had a strong hybrid portfolio, its all-electric offerings have been, well, limited. Moving forward, this will change and grow to include everything from the iX1, iX3, i5 and i7 to the CE 04 electric scooter and news that by the early 2030s Mini will be an all-electric brand. The goal is to sell a total of about 10-million fully-electric vehicles over the next 10-years. A little closer to home are the much-anticipated i4 M50 and iX xDrive50, both of which are slated to arrive in the Spring of 2022. Here are five things to know about the new BMW iX.
In spite of twisting 516 hp and 564 lb-ft of torque out through two electric motors that give the iX an all-electric version of xDrive and a run to 100 km/h of 4.6 seconds, the large 111.5-kilowatt/hour battery still manages to deliver up to 475-kilometres of driving range.A part of the range comes from the use of an i3-like carbon-fibre monocoque, high-strength steel, and aluminum. The blend reduces weight and keeps the centre of gravity low.
At home, a Level 2 charger replenishes a low battery in 11.5 hours. When on the road, a fast charger can pump 100-km of driving range into the battery in just 10 minutes. A big part of the range formula is found in the regenerative braking strategy. Unlike many EV manufacturers, BMW allows the driver to pick a one-pedal drive or a fully automatic mode that looks after things.
Inside there’s a wholesale rethink with centre stage going to a new large curved display that marries a 12.3-inch customizable instrumentation screen with a 14.9-inch infotainment touchscreen to form a single entity that’s angled towards the driver. The magnesium structure and a frameless one-piece glass surface makes the entire assembly look like it’s free-standing — without looking carefully, the supports are not obvious. This expansive format is something you can expect to find in future BMW models. Control is through the latest version of iDrive — version 8.
You’ll also find a full-function head-up display, a novel hexagonal-shaped steering wheel with 50 percent fewer buttons and switches than before along with fully-articulated front seats that change the amount of backrest bolstering according to the drive mode selected.
In spite of its overt in-your-face proportions, the 3D kidney’s fronting the iX are, in reality, a protective cover for all of the cameras, radars and sensors needed for the lengthy list of safety assistants. The new suite of technologies process 20 times more data than existing models, which, says BMW, gives the iX “the most extensive set of standard driver assistance systems ever.”
What makes the grille (or intelligence panel to BMW) different is that aside from having a self-cleaning function and being heated to prevent a snow build-up in winter, the grille itself is self-healing. An additional polyurethane coating not only reduces the susceptibility to damage from stone chipping and the like, the self-healing effect can repair minor nicks and scratches, which keeps the electronic “view” forward clean and unobstructed. When left to its own devices the grille will “fix” a flaw in 24-hours when the ambient temperature is around 20-celcius. Apply a little heat and it fixes things in as little as five-minutes.
The panoramic roof panel on the iX is the largest piece of glass ever installed on a BMW. The roof section is made from three layers of film and two laminated glass panels that are housed in a steel frame. When the sun gets too hot to handle, the driver simply pushes a button and the electrochromic glass panel is electrically tinted to provide the desired shade. Whenever the iX is parked, the panoramic roof automatically switches to the shade mode to keep the cabin temperature down. The design not only provides protection against unwanted ultraviolet light, it is said to be quieter than a traditional roof panel.